LAS CRUCES, NM – Red Rock Hospital recently came under fire when one of their resident physicians neglected to input a patient’s height during a code.
“I don’t know what came over me,” stated Michael Dodge, the senior resident in the ICU during the night of the incident. “I don’t remember learning this in my career, but the patient height is an essential part of the exam. I should have realized when the EMR kept prompting me when I was trying to order epinephrine and put in blood gasses but I kept ignoring it.” Dr. Dodge was under review by his residency program but was later cleared as this vital fact was not included in his medical school’s second-year pathology classes or third-year clerkships.
“It’s a real problem,” said Red Rock Medicine Chair, Dr. Laura Price. “Most doctors don’t realize how important this value is. You can unlock so much knowledge with a height. You can calculate BMI, you can plot growth charts, and you can predict whether your patient may play in the NBA using the patient’s and the parents’ heights together! It really is a shame that we’ll never find out any of these facts about that poor patient. He survived the code, but at what cost?”
The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement as follows. “We were derelict in our duty not to include this in our ACLS algorithm. As a result, doctors everywhere are mismanaging patients during code situations. We will update our guidelines immediately.” The AHA released a new practice guideline that added the “recording the height” step in between initiating CPR and delivering shocks from the defibrillator.
We were able to get in contact with Charlie Kemp, a 59-year-old patient who recently came through the Red Rock trauma bay after becoming obtunded by overdosing on his amitriptyline. “I feel comfortable in a medical system where the patient comes first. It’s great the doctors want to know my name, date of birth, and my height. They can deal with all of the extra details like my EKG and whether I need sodium bicarbonate later, what matters are the priorities.”
Red Rock Medical Center technology department has just installed a lock on the override so no orders can be written when the height is undocumented. They have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to track their patient outcomes with this vital piece of information. We will keep you updated on any new developments.